Polish ob/gyns, lawyers and journalists back total abortion ban
WARSAW, June 30, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A massive groundswell of support for the initiative before Poland’s parliament to ban all abortions has arisen from diverse segments of Polish society.
Open letters from professional associations of, and individual doctors, lawyers and journalists directed to parliamentarians and the general public reveal the overwhelming support for the huge nation-wide grassroots initiative launched by Warsaw’s PRO Foundation. This is in addition to the enthusiastic support from the country’s influential Catholic Church, which has thrown its weight behind the measure.
In an exclusive report on June 28th, LSN broke the story that the pro-life bill would come before the Sejm (the Lower House of Parliament) on June 30th.
The initiative was shielded from English media due to the campaign organizer’s concern that if the news broke in the English-speaking world prematurely, pro-abortion foreign powers would have poured money into the country to oppose their popular efforts.
Under Poland’s political system, sponsors need to collect 100,000 signatures within three months in order to bring an initiative before parliament. The PRO Foundation collected 600,000 signatures in two weeks.
“This project is a chance to finally reject the heritage of Nazism and Communism which brought ‘legal abortion’ to Poland in the first place,” Jacek Sapa of the PRO Foundation told LifeSiteNews. “It was Hitler and Stalin who imposed it on Poles and it’s high time we clearly disassociate ourselves from those deadly ideologies.”
In an open letter to parliamentarians, the National Ob/Gyn Section of the Catholic Association of Polish Medical Doctors expressed their support for the measure. “Organizing and performing abortions by the public health system has negative social consequences,” they wrote. “It demoralizes everybody involved in this procedure, it erodes social confidence in state institutions and it undermines respect to the medical profession, whose aim is to help the ill, not take away their lives.”
The doctors noted that a statement by the Constitutional Tribunal in 1997 clearly defines legal protection for human life from conception, and argued that therefore abortion should be deemed incompatible with moral rules and the Constitution.
The Constitutional Tribunal stated on May 28, 1997: “The value of the constitutionally protected legal good of human life, including life at the prenatal stage of development, cannot be differentiated. There is a lack of sufficiently precise and justified criteria that would allow for such a differentiation depending on the stage of development of human life. Since conception, human life becomes a constitutionally protected value. This concerns also the prenatal phase.” (Verdict of May 28, 1997, case K26/96).
In an open letter to the public, the Polish Ob/Gyns state that their association “fully supports the initiative aiming at complete protection of life of the preborn child from the moment of conception.”
“As gynecologysts and obstetricians,” President Maria Szczawinska said, “we are often faced with the procedure of killing of unborn children. Abortion is a tragedy for the killed child, his parents, but also for doctors. Abortion is not just a legal issue. For us, gynecologysts, this is mostly a moral and ethical issue. The doctor is the ‘servitor Vitae’ - a servant of Life and should protect human life from its beginning to its natural death. We are not refusing the right to rescue human life, but we strongly oppose killing the unborn child.
“That is why we join the many voices in support of the project totally banning the killing of unborn children.”
In another open letter, a group of Polish lawyers has advised parliamentarians that “lawmakers do not have unlimited competence and are not in possession of absolute power. At the end of the day, the law, both in matters of greatest and trivial significance, is subject to evaluation on whether it serves man.”
“We express our conviction that Polish law, which protects the life of every human from the moment of conception, should not waive this rule for reasons of the disability of the unborn children, nor their conception due to a criminal act, nor the lack of love on the part of their parents,” they wrote.
“That’s why Poland, choosing full protection of life, will be the advocate of true progress in international human rights protection.”
Journalist Natalia Dueholm, a top pro-life commentator who initiated an Open Letter of Female Journalists against Abortion, told LifeSiteNews that an outright ban on abortion would prevent EU tribunals from further forcing the abortion ideology on Poland.
“Once we ban abortion totally, supranational tribunals will no longer be able to convict Poland for not providing abortion to this or that woman who was supposedly entitled to it. The state of Poland has been ordered to pay damages to a number of women as punishment for ‘violating’ their ‘right’ to abortion. Those verdicts always called on Poland’s own law which allows for abortion in some cases. Once we get rid of these exception clauses, no tribunal will have grounds to penalize us for protecting the life of our citizens.”
Dueholm also addressed the surreptitious pressure that is often put on mothers to abort, when they should really just be provided with the best possible health care.
“Another important reason to ban abortion totally is to ensure that every pregnant woman has the best health care at the hospital and ob/gyn office,” Dueholm told LSN.
“The law must state clearly that both her and her child’s lives are protected. Too many women find themselves pressured into abortion when their pregnancies are diagnosed with complications. Women deserve real medicine, which aims at treating problems and saving the patients lives, not eliminating them.”
Journalist and pro-life commentator Joanna Najfeld added that the “mother’s health” exception clause in Poland’s current abortion law has resulted in abuse of the system and even led to cases of “legal” abortion on minors.
“The current Polish law can be so easily stretched to include more and more abortion cases as ‘legal’,” Najfeld told LifeSiteNews.
“This has happened in other countries which allowed for ‘exceptions’ in their abortion law and ended up with - practically - abortion on demand. Spain is the most infamous example here. Poland is in danger of going down the same slope, that’s why it’s high time we stop this.
“Unless we ban abortion completely, we will end up with massive numbers of fetal genocide, performed practically on demand,” Najfeld said.
The pro-life bill is being given first reading in the Sejm today, with a vote expected today or Friday. A 50% plus one vote would move the bill to committee for consideration, and then back to the Sejm for a second and third reading and vote. It would then go to the Senate for a vote, and, if passed, the country’s president must decide whether to sign it into law. If he does not, then the Parliament would need to give it two-thirds support in order to overturn his veto.
Jacek Sapa of the PRO Foundation told LifeSiteNews that the bill has a “realistic” chance of passing, noting that 90% of parliamentarians are Catholics who have an interest in appearing on side with the Church.
“Politicians opposing this pro-life law risk openly defying the Church and this simply does not pay,” Sapa explained. “Poles are still a Catholic nation, and politicians often seek to present themselves as faithful Catholics during electoral campaigns to gain popularity.”